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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - May 19

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference following Wednesday’s open OTA practice. - More Watch Video

(You are a big believer in how this part of the year plays a big role in how a team gets better. Has that changed it all?)

I would say our players clearly understand the importance of the offseason program. Everything is tailored, starting No. 1 with their improvement being the focus of the first five weeks in the weight room. I definitely feel we hit that target. I thought our participation was excellent, especially with the landscape of what is going on around the National Football League. The second phase of it, after a week off, was to work on individual improvement. Once again, I was very pleased with the number we had finishing our fourth week into that particular part of our offseason program. There has been a lot of one-on-one attention given to our players. Now we have the opportunity to have the rookies here all the way through the OTAs, so this is an opportunity for our football team to improve, get on the same page, learn the adjustments and the new concepts or the adjustments to the new concepts that we are going to take into the 2010 season. So yes, it's important anytime you have an opportunity to get together as a football team.

(What were your impressions of Bulaga?)

Just learning. I'm sure the film will reflect what I thought I saw today out on the field. I thought yesterday for the first time, the offense, defense, and special teams practiced together, I thought it was a very good practice, just in my recollection to past years. Part of that is our veterans have been here since March 15. The rookies had the opportunity to go through the first installation during the rookie orientation camp, so they had carryover to yesterday's practice. But really from today all the way through the OTAs, it will be brand new every day for the rookies and it looked like it hit some of them pretty hard today with some of the mental errors we had. So tomorrow's practice will be tailored more to the younger players, particularly our rookies, and it will be a review of our first two installations. That's why we do it the way we do it. It will give those guys a chance to get caught up.

(Is that the toughest part, getting the young guys caught up?)

I think that is a challenge every football team has on all levels. Anytime you have a new group of players that are integrated into your program, there is going to be change. I get a chuckle out every time I am the combine or you are talking to a player that is joining your program. 'You run the West Coast offense?' 'Yes, we run a form of the West Coast offense. I ran that in college.' I go, 'OK, then you'll be fine.' It doesn't work that way. Everybody does it a little different, and that's why it is important for everybody to get here and get on the same page. Practice tempo is different some places than others, the way you practice, and just the way you do things from a fundamental standpoint is probably the biggest adjustment if you are asking a player to do something fundamentally different than he has done in the past. That's why these OTA practices are very important.

(Have you seen anything from Bulaga that indicates whether he can or can't play left tackle?)

Oh, Bryan Bulaga will play tackle in this league. I don't have any question about that. If we had any question about that, he probably wouldn't be here in Green Bay. I don't see any limitations for Bryan to fulfill his role here, whether it is left tackle, right tackle, wherever he may end up.

(How have the importance of these OTAs changed over the years?)

Frankly, I don't really know how to answer that question because the format that we use here in Green Bay during my tenure has been the format that I have been accustomed to since 1993. When I was with Marty Schottenheimer from 1993-98, pretty much the whole team was there in March, April, May and June. Green Bay in '99 was different. That was not the case in '99, and then when I went to New Orleans the whole football team was there during the spring. That's why I felt it was important when I returned here that that program was in place, because it's an opportunity for your players to individually improve. It's an opportunity for the coaches and players to get on the same page, and then more importantly, you are able to maximize those OTA practices when you come together. You're not trying to catch up this guy and put this guy on the same page. That's really all I know and that's the way that we'll always go about it.

(Is the week on, week off thing new?)

We have added an extra week of them being off. Now our numbers come out the same based on what we did in the early parts. It really stemmed from the strength and conditioning. We felt that we had a very high number of our players that fell into a category of overtraining. We looked at the things we were doing in the weight room. We looked very closely at once the players were inter-mixing their activities and drills in the weight room to what we do on the field once the coaches get involved. Then the third part is now how the weight room is integrated into the OTA practices. We felt frankly that we were stressing our players out, so that is why we made the adjustment where we went five weeks of purely in the weight room and then four weeks more of an individual emphasis and also with the weight-room work with another week off. Then we'll finish with another four weeks that will be truly focused on the OTA atmosphere.

(Ryan Pickett lined up at defensive end. Can you talk about the thinking there?)

Ryan's a true pro. He's played the nose, the three-technique, and he's played some end. The four-technique is a little different for him, and the five-technique. I think it just shows his flexibility. We're just, once again, in Year 2 of our defense, just like the other two phases, we've had a chance to go back and evaluate our schemes and concepts that we used last year, how we can better utilize our players, moving some players around to give us some flexibility to make sure we have those options throughout the course of a 16-game season, and that's definitely one of them, trying to get Ryan more on the field. I think it just says a lot about him as a person and his flexibility as a player. I think with Ryan being down in the trenches, sometimes people lose sight. He has exceptional foot quickness and he definitely has the ability to get out there and play a five-technique.

{sportsad300}(Is Justin Harrell in your plans on the defensive line? How do you gauge his situation?)

Justin Harrell is definitely in our plans. Justin has gone through a number of medical hurdles that he's had to clear, and that will be no different as he goes through these OTAs and hopefully he stays healthy through that, and when he gets into training camp, that will be another hurdle. That's the one I'm sure Justin is looking forward to, and we all are, because you never really know with a lower back, particularly with defensive linemen, until he gets into the trench work and you get into the padded practices. He's very much in our plans, no question.

(How is Burnett looking, getting a grasp of the defense?)

He's done a very good job, number one, in the meetings, communicating. Dom Capers, the way he runs the defense and the method of communication as far as how our meetings are organized, that's the first step, and the ability to carry it over to the playing field. We've seen him in the rookie orientation and now two practices, so I think he's off to a good start there. But there's no question you like the size and the athletic ability that he possesses, and I think that's pretty clear-cut to everybody just watching him move around the last two days

(Do you see B.J. Raji more at nose tackle or defensive end this year?)

I think B.J. is clearly more of a natural nose guard, just looking at his body type and his dimensions, but I think he's a lot like Ryan. You're talking about two very big men that have natural pad level because of their stature but have exceptional foot quickness. Once again, just to have the flexibility of having players that can play more than one position, that's what we're looking at, and you can't really get away from the fact that, how much time are you really going to be in base defense? More and more each year these offenses are challenging you with the vertical passing game and sub groups and so forth. So having the opportunity to have players play more than one position is a big part of our success on defense.

(Peter King said you're the No. 1 team going into the season. What do you think about that?)

I don't know if that's a good thing in May. We fully plan and prepare and emphasize everything that we do as our path to get to the Super Bowl, which I'm sure is like any of the other teams. If Peter thinks that high of us, that's great, but there won't be any games that are going to be won this week, so it's irrelevant. But it's nice when people say nice things about you I guess.

(Good to be on the radar, right?)

It's good to be on the radar.

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